Are you preparing to take the ACT but feeling unsure about the writing section? One common question among test-takers is: What is the length of the ACT writing section? This article will provide an in-depth look at the duration of the ACT writing test, how many minutes are allotted for the writing portion, and the recommended length for the essay. By the end, youll have a better understanding of the time limits and expectations for the ACT writing section. Lets dive in!

Understanding the Length and Time Allotted for the ACT Writing Section

The ACT is a standardized test used by many colleges and universities in the United States as part of their admissions process. It consists of four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. In addition, there is an optional Writing section that some students choose to take. If you do decide to take the Writing section, it is important to understand the length of the test and how much time you will have to complete it.

What is the Length of the ACT Writing Section?

The ACT Writing section is designed to assess your writing skills and ability to analyze a given prompt. It consists of one essay prompt and you are required to write a persuasive essay in response. The prompt typically presents a controversial issue or topic and you are expected to take a position and defend your argument with strong evidence and reasoning.

The length of the ACT Writing section is 40 minutes. This includes the time it takes to read and analyze the prompt, plan your essay, write your essay, and review it for any errors or improvements. This may seem like a short amount of time, but with proper preparation and time management, you can successfully complete the essay within the given time frame.

How Many Minutes is the ACT Writing Portion?

The ACT Writing portion is 40 minutes long. This is in addition to the other four sections of the test, which are also timed. The entire ACT test, including the Writing section, takes approximately 3 hours and 35 minutes to complete. However, if you choose to take the optional Writing section, the total time for the test increases to 4 hours and 5 minutes.

Length of Time for ACT Essay Writing

The recommended length for the ACT essay is between 600-800 words. This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that you will have 40 minutes to complete the essay. This translates to about 10-12 minutes for planning and organization, 25-30 minutes for writing, and 5-10 minutes for proofreading and revising.

It is important to use your time wisely during the ACT Writing section. You should spend a few minutes reading and analyzing the prompt, then take a few minutes to brainstorm and outline your essay. This will help you stay on track and focused while writing your essay. Make sure to leave some time at the end to review and make any necessary improvements.

What is the Time Limit for ACT Writing?

The time limit for the ACT Writing section is 40 minutes. This means that you will only have 40 minutes to read, plan, and write your essay. Therefore, it is crucial to use your time effectively and efficiently. It can be helpful to practice timed essays beforehand to get a feel for how long 40 minutes really is and to develop a strategy for managing your time during the test.

ACT Writing Section Time Frame

The ACT Writing section is just one part of the entire ACT test. The test itself is divided into four different sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Each section has a specific time frame and number of questions that you will need to complete in the given amount of time.

  • English: 45 minutes for 75 multiple-choice questions
  • Math: 60 minutes for 60 multiple-choice questions
  • Reading: 35 minutes for 40 multiple-choice questions
  • Science: 35 minutes for 40 multiple-choice questions
  • Writing (optional): 40 minutes for one essay

As you can see, the ACT Writing section has the shortest time frame out of all the sections. This is why it is important to practice your timing and develop a strategy before taking the test.

How Much Time Do You Have to Write on the ACT?

You will have 40 minutes to write your essay on the ACT Writing section. It is recommended to spend about 5-10 minutes planning and organizing your thoughts, 25-30 minutes writing your essay, and 5-10 minutes reviewing and revising your work. However, the exact breakdown of time may vary depending on your personal writing process and how you prefer to allocate your time.

ACT Essay Section Length

The ACT essay section does not have a specific length requirement. However, it is recommended to write between 600-800 words. This length allows you to fully develop your argument and provide strong evidence and reasoning to support it. Keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity in your essay. The graders are looking for a well-written, well-supported, and well-organized essay, not just a long one.

How Many Words Should I Write on the ACT Writing Test?

As mentioned earlier, the recommended length for the ACT essay is between 600-800 words. This translates to about 2-3 pages, double-spaced. However, it is important to focus on the quality of your writing rather than trying to meet a specific word count. If you can effectively make your argument and provide strong evidence and reasoning within 500 words, that is perfectly acceptable.

Maximum Time Allotted for ACT Writing

The maximum time allotted for the ACT Writing section is 40 minutes. This is the time limit for reading, planning, and writing your essay. As mentioned before, it is important to use your time wisely and efficiently in order to complete your essay within this time frame.

Overall, the ACT Writing section may seem short compared to the other sections of the test, but it is still an important part of your ACT score and should not be overlooked. By understanding the length and time allotted for the essay, practicing your timing and writing skills, and developing a solid strategy, you can successfully complete this section with confidence.

Need help preparing for the ACT Writing section? Check out this guide on summarizing a research article in 5 steps!

In conclusion, the ACT writing section is an important component of the ACT exam, with a duration of 40 minutes. This time frame allows students to fully develop their argument and showcase their writing skills within a limited amount of time. It is crucial for students to practice and become familiar with the time limit in order to effectively manage their time during the actual test. The recommended length for the essay is between 500-600 words, but the focus should be on quality rather than quantity. With proper preparation and time management, students can excel in the ACT writing section and achieve their desired scores. It is important to remember that while the time may seem limited, it is more than enough to create a well-written and coherent essay. So, stay calm, focused, and confident during the test and make the most of the 40 minutes allotted for the ACT writing section.


  • rhysgraham

    Rhys Graham is an educational blogger and professor who writes about topics such as literacy, mathematics, and science. He has written several books, including one on the history of science. He is also the co-founder of the website Learn Out Loud, which helps educators create and share classroom activities.